I have worked in and about health care since I was 17 years old. My mom died when I was young. I felt so helpless watching her go through her illness, but I saw the people who helped her – and our family. I wanted to make that same sort of impact for others.
If I can help one person and give them a good experience, I know it makes a difference. We don’t do this for the pay cheque. It’s to help people so they can say “I had a good experience.”
Because I work in Intake, we don’t have a caseload of clients. My role is to help new people receive services or help them navigate through the healthcare system. Many people don’t know that they can call to make a self-referral. We are here to help point people in the right direction.
We work with one patient at a time – that’s how we put patients first. We don’t look at patients as a group. It’s one person at a time. We do see trends that help us make decisions about services overall. Our goal is to make the system easier for people to access.
We really don’t think about healthcare until we need it. It’s something that’s there through every stage of our lives, but it’s different when you really need it versus just going to the doctor for a regular checkup. In February, I developed an upper-respiratory illness that gave me flu-like symptoms that ended up developing pneumonia. I was flat out for three days. My husband was there to assist me with everything.
It was eye-opening. I’m fairly young and healthy and recovered quickly. It did give me a new perspective for patients who are older, frailer and may live alone with no one to take care of them. It reminded me of how important it is for us to be patient-centred. To focus on helping each individual patient and give them the best of what we have to give.
Health care can be scary for individuals, especially if they’ve never had to access this system before. We want to make it as simple as possible and make sure they’re not intimidated so they get the help they need. That also means we go beyond just the services we can offer. We also connect them with other services in the community that can help.
I work with a wonderful team. They are smart, and they make this organization strong. There’s not just one person who knows absolutely everything. We are a collective of knowledge and experience. We help each other out. Teamwork gets everything done. I’m very lucky to do what I love, to know that we have the support of each other to do the work we do and to work with such a great group of people.